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Friday, February 22, 2013

A Bright Future!

A book entitled The Time Machine was published by H. G. Wells in 1896.  The book related the fictional account of a creative gentleman who loved science and built a machine that could transport him to the future or even back in history.  However, this particular explorer was focused on the future rather than the past.  In the book, the future does not turn out to be very bright and the scientist is filled with despair.  Unlike the future in the book, the Columbia School District believes that the outlook for our students is bright, just like the torch in our logo says, “A Solid Foundation for a Bright Future!”

At all levels of student learning we are working to build upon the great education our students have received and focus on integrating technology into all of their subjects.  One goal we have identified for this year is to increase the technology infrastructure to help enable our teachers to utilize innovative techniques in their teaching.  Currently, we are working on increasing our technological effectiveness in all curricular areas to prepare our students for a bright tomorrow. 

The scientist in The Time Machine was an innovative and resourceful person who was able to integrate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to create a successful product.  Recently in a publication from the College of Natural Science of Michigan State University I read that “American businesses will require 1 million additional graduates with STEM degrees in the next decade to remain competitive internationally” (Connections, Winter 2012).  Our desire for our students is to give them the tools to continue learning and investigating so they may use their knowledge in the STEM areas to be successful as they grow and mature. 

Over the next few months you will hear more about how the Columbia School District is working collaboratively with our staff and community to renovate our facilities to increase the effectiveness of our technology infrastructure to benefit our students.  The Columbia School District Board of Education and administration is working with community members and staff to help focus our process to envision our facilities so we may give our students the best opportunity to be successful in the future.  If you are interested in hearing more about this process to improve our school please email me at pam.campbell@myeagles.org or call me at 5175926641.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Raising Responsible Children

One of the most difficult aspects of raising children is to help instill responsibility without making them feel inadequate.  Responsible students set goals for themselves.  Goals help children focus on what’s important and what’s not.  When children are goal-oriented, they are more likely to say “no” to irresponsible behavior…because they are saying “yes” to their vision of the future.

Children can set goals for completing school work, getting along with others, participating in sports and leisure activities, or anything else that they want to improve.

Parents may teach goal-setting by taking these steps to help your child set goals…and achieve them.
·         At the beginning of the week, help your child identify one goal.  It might be turning in a book report on time or getting 90 percent correct on a spelling test. 
·         Have your child write the goal on a piece of paper.  Put the goal in an obvious place such as posting it on the refrigerator or bulletin board. 
·         Talk about how to accomplish the goal.  Help your child break the goal down into smaller steps.  For example you could say, “You could read two chapters every day.  Then you may spend a day writing your report and another day revising it.”
·         As the week progresses, ask your child how things are going.  If problems arise, talk about possible solutions.  If your child falls behind in reading, for example, a 10-minute extension of bedtime might help him or her catch up.
·         At the end of the week, help your child evaluate how well he did.  Did he achieve his goals?  Why or why not?

As you review your child’s progress in the goal setting process there will be some setbacks along with the successes.  The most important part of the process is to praise your child for trying and then set a new goal for the next week.  If you have questions about how to help your child be successful in school, please contact your child’s teacher or school counselor, Mrs. McBean at CMS or CES at 517.592.2181 or Mrs. Wilcox at CCHS at 517.592.6634.  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District please email me at pam.campbell@myeagles.org or call 517.592.6641.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Pink Smoothies!

Earlier this week I heard a woman telling a funny story about her husband.  The couple was at a restaurant to have the breakfast buffet.  She said that the buffet was amazing!  There was fruit, eggs, bacon and more bacon!  She looked across the buffet line at her husband and he had a funny, almost horrified look on his face.  When she asked him what was wrong, he said, “Yuck!  Have you tried these pink smoothies?”, motioning to the small plastic cup of pink liquid in his hand.  At that point she was laughing so hard she could hardly finish story and she said that she told him, “That’s not a smoothie, that’s strawberry flavored waffle batter!”   After hearing her story I began thinking that just like her husband, many times we assume that things are the way they appear. 

Although the buildings in our district look pretty good there are concerns with our facilities.  Just like the husband who thought the strawberry waffle batter was a smoothie, many of us assume that since we have computers in our school, we are all set.  As we have been examining our educational facilities, we have found that our technology infrastructure is not good enough to facilitate the current rate of usage.  One of the goals of the Columbia School Board is to upgrade not only the computers our students use, but the infrastructure that supports the computers. 

During the School Board work session members of the board and community heard from five companies that could provide construction management services to the district as we continue examining our facilities and plan for future renovations including updating our technology infrastructure. At the February 11th Columbia School Board Meeting, the board members will take some time to discuss their thoughts regarding the companies that made presentations earlier this week.  The goal of the Board is to pursue a thoughtful, transparent process that will result in better educational learning facilities for our students.

When we walk into our buildings with the teams of construction managers it is very obvious that they understand our concerns.  The companies are experienced at evaluating school facilities, planning for renovations and managing the facility transformation process.  As the board, staff, teachers and administrators work through the planning process focusing on the end result of improved facilities, we invite all of our parents and community members to join us.  The Columbia School District staff and administrators are working together to bring the best in education for your child.  We believe that a strong education will help develop our students to be lifelong learners and grow up to be positive contributing members of our community.   If you have questions regarding your child’s education or the renovation planning process please email me or give me a call at 592-6641.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Our Passion for Education

Think about the last time you took an art class. Maybe you were excited about the challenge and maybe you were concerned because you would have rather taken a physical education class. We all have different artistic capabilities and we all paint with a different brush stroke. However, one thing that unites us as parents is that we are passionate about our children. We want our children to have opportunities that will lead them to be successful adults.

The Columbia School District is working on re-envisioning and updating our facilities to ensure that our students receive a top quality education. Our goal is to have our students be educated in a safe, warm, dry and technologically appropriate learning environment. Although the State of Michigan funds the education of our students, the upkeep and upgrading of school facilities is passed along to the individual school communities.

As our world becomes more and more unpredictable we as parents view our children’s safety with utmost importance. Our goal to have safe buildings includes not only physical safety from outsiders, but to ensure that the entirety of our aging facilities is upgraded to provide appropriate safe learning environments for our students.

Currently our heating systems are less than optimum; many of the pieces of equipment integrated in the heating system are forty to fifty years old. This lack of dependable heating equipment includes outdated boilers, condensers and rooftop units. Many of you who have children in school, have heard stories over the past few years about buckets in the hallways. Although we have patched the roofs, the patches will not last too long because the balance of the roof is aging and losing integrity with each passing day.

Those of us who like to use technology in our daily lives will appreciate the fact that our facilities need to have up to date wiring and infrastructure to handle the many pieces of information flowing into and out of our students’ computers each moment of the day. While wires and switches do not sound very interesting, it is amazing how important they are to support upgraded computers and tablets for our children’s learning environment.

On Tuesday, February 5th the Columbia School District Board of Education will hold a work session to hear from companies who work with school districts through the facilities renovation process. Although the meeting is a work session, Columbia School District parents and community members are invited to attend the meeting. If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District, please call me at 517.592.6641 or email me at pam.campbell@myeagles.org.